Keeping Durham Beautiful

Bryce Roberts, Manager, Demand Generation

Bryce Roberts, Manager, Demand Generation

Did you know that lemurs are world-class pollinators? I sure didn’t. That’s just one of many discoveries I made while pitching in with my fellow Brontos for Keep Durham Beautiful.

We worked alongside bees and volunteer coordinators to do our part for bee habitats, creating a fertile soil bed for pollinating flowers next to two active beehives in northeast Durham. The flowers that are now there will beautify the area for visitors to the Durham General Services Department on Fay Street, while nourishing the honeybees that are having such a tough time surviving.

We started the three-hour project by meeting some of the Keep Durham Beautiful’s all-star coordinators: Monica, Monica Ospina, Erin Victor, Katia Griffin-Jakymec, Brittany Huggins. They were fresh off a pollinator expert certification program in lovely Asheville, NC and eager to share their knowledge. They relayed just how much our work can impact these hives, which are just a few of the dozens that have been placed around Durham to nurture this species whose plight we hear about so often. Then we set to work, eagerly breaking soil to make a beautiful and useful haven for our newfound insect friends.

In typical Bronto fashion, the taxing work was interspersed with playful banter, and the conversation soon turned to our favorite restaurants and menu items. We debated which Durham purveyors laid claim to the best biscuits, tacos, steaks, po’ boys and margaritas. We almost came to blows over the taco category, but the discovery of colorful marbles distracted us.

Apparently, we were uncovering a glass graveyard – we pulled almost as many Mason jars out of the ground as we did tree roots! As employees of a marketing software and services company, we were quick to build narratives explaining the hundreds of marbles we were finding. The tales were mostly whimsical but verged on the macabre as well – anything to keep us laughing as we yanked leg-sized roots from two-foot-deep soil in the blistering sun.

After clearing the area, we sifted, composted, dumped and raked to make an inviting bed for hearty flowers and plants that will make it their home. Another group mulched around the beehives to keep lawn mowers at a safe distance, for their own sake. In the end, I made new friends, planned my next lunch outings, learned a lot about the ecosystems in our company’s backyard and got an awesome excuse to skip my workout for the day.

Keep Durham Beautiful is doing amazing work in our community, and we were fortunate to have the opportunity to help out. I will definitely sign up again the next time we volunteer!